10 Days Later: Not The “New Normal”

election-signs

 

I told myself that I would not – would definitely not – write any kind of post-election blog post. However, if you are reading this post now, I must have changed my mind. But I will keep this short.

After nearly 10 days of reflection, I have a three-fold mantra – –

1. Change Happens.

2. We Can Deal With It.

3.  It’s Not the New Normal.

No matter which “side” you were on before the presidential election on November 8th, you may still be in shock. Shock that your candidate won – or shocked that your candidate lost.

Either way – see #’s 1, 2 and 3 above.

What did “we” learn from the election results?

That “we” who have always lived inside the Washington, DC bubble had no clue how people in other areas of our country were feeling – or what they were really thinking.

My husband’s family is from Detroit and we visit there, so I knew the U.S. economy was not sailing along on a wave of prosperity everywhere. But it did come as a surprise to me that so many voters felt disenfranchised and wanted change — especially since that promise of change arrived in the form of a bombastic, erratic and narcissistic candidate who seemed to say aloud whatever (often outrageous and deeply offensive) thoughts he was thinking.

I may be in the minority here – but let me go out on a (hopeful? delusional?) limb, I don’t think that our POTUS-elect really, deeply, truly in his inner soul actually believes in the anti-minority, anti-women, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant horrific statements that he and his followers uttered during the course of the campaign.

I think instead that he developed as his campaign took off an uncannily awful instinct to appeal to the lowest common denominator that exists in all of us – some of us more than others – that makes us fearful of people who look differently, who act differently, who make more or who have more than we do.

And once he realized he had this appeal and that it could be used to swell the size of his “base”, it was like a vote-getting spigot he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – turn off. Which led to some very ugly actions and words.

How can this spigot be turned off? That will not be easy. But it is what we must do going forward.

Just this week we’ve seen signs that bigotry and hate speech are still rising up. In the middle school in the town next to mine, swastikas were drawn on the wall of the boys’ bathroom. In a middle school! And racist slogans were written on the wall of a nearby church.

This CANNOT become the “new normal”.

I believe that people of good faith will always be in the majority, whatever political party is in power, and that they will loudly condemn and take actions against these hate speech and incidents.

I may still be in election-shock but I’m looking towards the long-term. Living in/near DC since my long-ago law school days, I have seen many administrations come and go. None like this, of course.

But this too shall pass, as my wise husband likes to say. And while it is passing – as quickly as possible, please – I plan to speak out – maybe even more loudly (which is already pretty loud) – against evidence of anti-Semitism (because that hits me most personally) and against bigotry of all kinds.

Change has happened. We can deal with it. So long as we do not – EVER – let the spigot of hate that bubbled up during the campaign become the new normal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

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6 responses to “10 Days Later: Not The “New Normal”

  1. Yes. Not the new normal, and we have to do all we can to make sure that it doesn’t slide into being so. I think one of the things that makes it hard is that it’s not entirely about the president (I hold pretty firmly that he’s a narcissist and will say whatever he thinks is going to get him the most attention and the loudest cheers — personal convictions don’t really play into it), but about the rhetoric of hate and bigotry. I’m not sure (I hope) that there hasn’t actually been a rise in people who feel those ways — but those who do are certainly feeling emboldened.

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  2. Lerman, Steven A.

    One of your best posts.

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  3. Hi Nancy! I promised myself the same thing, but I’ll be posting my newest blog tomorrow with some of my thoughts. I mean, how can we not? I’m here in California and a handful of friends, right here, voted for the con man. We are ALL in this together and while it’s important to be kind, it is equally important to fight.

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  4. I like that 3-fold mantra!

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  5. Bonnie J. Weissman

    Voted Libertarian because I could stand neither major candidate—- the Donald’s xenophobia among many other things, and the Hillary’s classified info problem among many other things… I agree with another commenter— this was one of your best posts. I used to live in Montgomery County, MD after living in other places including two foreign countries. Now I live in Louisiana. You really do (as I did) live in a bubble. Our media needs to get out into the hinterlands more often. I also knew the Hillary was in trouble when my hairdresser, an African American with tattooed arms and towers of braids on her head, told me she was voting for Trump. Why? She thought he’d be good for small business. Another post election story talked about a county commissioner in PA who realized the same thing about a month prior to the election when he and a few volunteers had to process about 9000 new voter registrations in their rural county. The applicants were overwhelmingly white and male, with jobs like dock worker, warehouse worker, etc. As I looked at the sea of red that was the PA map with the few blue dots, it struck me that it looked like a BREXIT map the night of that election. The pitchforks were out. Thank God for the constitution! It will be OK.

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  6. Thanks for your hopeful mantra and comments. Change takes time, and that’s what I am counting on. Meanwhile I fear for the vulnerable population and the undocumented immigrants, I fear for women’s rights, I fear for the environment and the price of food…the list is endless. I would like to close my eyes and wake up in another era. I would like to continue living in my bubble. But I cannot abandon my daughters. I need to stick by their side as by the side of people who could use my help. We need to stay alert and make ourselves heard.

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